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Pen15: “Opening Night” Review

Image Source: PoGDesign

Synopsis:

It’s opening night. Hearts are exposed, forcing both Anna and Maya to grow up.


We’ve reached opening night for the theater kids, and we’ve also come to the end of the season. There were definitely ups and downs, and I like how things were set up for a potential third season.

We see that the episode is all about opening night, and sadly, tensions are still high between characters. Anna is still being rude to her mom, which isn’t warranted. It’s just because she’s not happy with how her parent’s divorce is going. And there is still some tension between Anna and Maya, after how hell week went in the episode prior. The play starts, and things start a little rocky. Maya still is having trouble finding her light, and the lighting cues are all off. To make matters worse, when it’s time for Maya and Gabe to have their kiss, Gabe chickens out at the last second and covers his mouth, when Maya tries to kiss him. Totally taken aback, Maya forgets her lines, and Anna catches her attention, by sprinkling glitter on her, which was given to her by her mom, and tells Maya her lines. I was glad that even though there was tension between the two, Anna still made sure that her friend didn’t humiliate herself in front of everyone. To further the play along, the characters go into this alt-reality and do an interpretive dance. It was a little weird because it took me out of what was happening, but I guess it was a creative way to get to the end of the play.

Afterward, everyone meets up at an Italian restaurant, and Maya gets praises for her performance. Even Sam comes up to Maya to congratulate her. This made me giddy because we hadn’t seen Sam talk to the girls since the first episode, and I needed that interaction between him and Maya. They awkwardly talk to each other and Sam finally says that he’s sorry for everything that has happened. Meaning I guess for telling her that he was the secret guy she had been talking to on AIM, and for being an influence in the hate Maya and Anna got all year at school. He asks what happened with the kiss on stage. And says if he were Gabe, he wouldn’t have covered his mouth. This made me so giddy because I thought maybe he would have kissed Maya, but sadly it didn’t happen. But he really showed that he has it bad for Maya now.

Back at Anna’s table, her dad shows up and reveals that he bought a used convertible. Maya and Anna are super excited to see it, and it just made me disgusted. Now that Anna’s dad is getting divorced, he’s trying to be hip again, and we also see that he gets an earring for his pierced ear. He looks like he’s reverted back to the ’80s. The girls and Gabe, go out to see the new car, and they see that Steve, the techie advisor is in the parking lot drinking. They all get into the car, and Anna quickly realizes that maybe Maya and Gabe want to be alone. Anna and Steve go back to having a conversation and I think they’re actually cute together. He actually has respect for her and says that his mom liked the part where the glitter fell on Maya’s head. In the car, Maya wants to kiss Gabe, and he ends up kissing her jaw instead. It was the most awkward kiss because he was basically making out with her jaw, and poor Maya is so confused. Afterward, Gabe confesses that he doesn’t have feelings for her, and breaks up with her. I felt so bad for Maya because she went through her first breakup, but I was also happy that she finally got out of that relationship. Gabe obviously was dating Maya as a coverup for his own confusion with his sexuality, and now Maya will hopefully get a chance to date Sam.

Anna’s dad comes out to drive the girls home, and Anna goes to make sure her mom’s ok and to say goodbye. She finds her mom upset, paying the check, and tells her that she’s sorry for being mean to her. And for her dad’s behavior towards her. This was a great moment between mother and daughter because I think Anna finally realized how miserable her mom had become, and realized that she didn’t need to be hated on. This divorce wasn’t fully her fault, and Anna’s dad’s behavior towards her mom wasn’t right. It was sweet that Anna told her mom that she was strong. When the girls leave, we see that Sam runs out to get Maya’s attention, but he’s too late. She waves to him, but I think that was going to be his moment to tell her he likes her. I guess we’ll see that relationship blossom again next season. And lastly, while they’re on the road, Anna’s dad tells her that her mom has gotten custody of the house and that he’s going to have to find an apartment. He also tells Anna that she’s going to have to figure out who she wants to live with. This makes Anna start to cry because that’s basically like Sophie’s choice for her now. She just resolved her issues with her mom, and now she has to pick her favorite parent essentially. That must be hard for any kid going through a divorce because that’s an extremely hard decision if you’re close with both your parents. I kind of hope that she chooses her mom because I think she pays more attention to her and throughout this season, we saw that she truly wants to be a part of her daughter’s life.

Overall, this season wasn’t as strong as last season, but I do like what was set up for next season if it moves forward. I think the girl’s maturity level will progress and I’m excited to see that. I think this season showed a lot of negative aspects to growing up, but ones that teens might have to go through, and I think the minor characters weren’t used as well this season like they were last season. Specifically Sam’s storylines. I really missed seeing him throughout the season, and he was basically set aside. I feel like I didn’t laugh as much this season, and there were a lot more cringey scenes that I wasn’t ready for. I hope next season is way better and has a similar tone that was set at the beginning of season 1.

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